Pauline May: Seeking new Franchisees at the NFE

A DESIGNER who began by making clothes for the elderly in her garage and has now launched a franchisee network across the UK and Ireland is to showcase her fast-expanding business at the 2006 National Franchise Exhibition, NEC Birmingham, October 6 & 7 - Stand V110.

Pauline Sargeant, 55, is behind the Pauline May clothing range, the UK's only firm dedicated to the mature and special needs fashions sector.

The businesswoman created her company in 1991 in Keighley, West Yorkshire, with a £1,000 start-up bank loan. She has now opened 26 franchises to run mobile shops in England, Scotland and Ireland and plans to open 20 more this year and another 75 next year.

Pauline May clothing ranges are sold to thousands of nursing and residential home residents, direct to people's homes, via an international mail order catalogue business - and now through a new online shop at

The ranges, for both men and women of all sizes, with 80 per cent of ladieswear manufactured in-house, also include specialist outfits for wheelchair-users, stroke patients and other people with special needs, along with footwear and accessories - and come with a 100 per cent money-back guarantee.

Pauline said: 'I had for a long time realised that clothes for older people were not as easy to find as readily available younger fashions, and that elderly or infirm people have difficulty in getting to the shops to buy them.

'They were the forgotten people and I recognised that there was a whole new market place out there - that we could provide a service that would make a real difference to people's lives.

'All our franchisees share this philosophy and we continue to seek to develop and cement partnerships with like-minded people. We feel The National Franchise Exhibition is the ideal stage to help us achieve this vision. We've come from garage to world market.'